In this letter I try to explain, as succinctly as I can why you have never understood me – or more specifically, my faith.
When I first met you I spoke the words, “I believe the Lord . . . ” and then I explained that I was coming to Samoa, my skillsets and interests and so on. You and I have referred to this conversation more than once since. It wasn’t very comfortable for you I know. Likewise, despite my increase of talking about matters of faith, I don’t charge around the town of country saying “God told me!” or “Thus saith the Lord!” and especially not in 2009 in a country I knew nothing about.
YOu have, more than once spoken to me and said things like, “I know you are religious” to which I have always corrected you and said that I DO NOT go to church or do religious things. As you and people close to me know I can and do attend church when others want me to accompany them and yes I do play hymns on the piano and am happy to sing, dance or pray with others but generally it is clear that I am NOT a religious person.
So what gives? Why did you take offence at my introduction? Why do you keep getting things wrong about me? Why now do I sit outside of Samoa and preach to you, a man whom I used to submit to yet now a man, my senior whom I scold and in public over serious matters including running an entire country?
The answer comes down Tui to the difference between the way that you and I view things of faith. For you, and for many Samoans the external is supremely important. This is why your church in Siusega, like many in Samoa is HUGE – a multi-million dollar monstrosity to service only a few dozen families! This is why Samoans dress up on Sunday and why many of the Pastors announce the various families giving figures (often each week) and why certain people sit at certain places of honour. These are very important things for you and your people because you view what man sees as important. In your case I know that you have passed the need for striving to look good and your desire is to not look too good so that you cannot be criticised politically. This is the very same force at work though – the value is the same – that you are driven by what others see; what you LOOK like.
I however am the total opposite. I don’t care whether I have to walk; whether I earn $100.00 or $100,000.00 is nothing to me. At the end of the day, sure it hurts when it there is BS as a result of gossip about me, but I actually don’t care what people say about me. I know who I am and that is what matters.
So this then Tui is the difference between us. What you see is a GENUINENESS in me that is not common in Samoan society where everything, and yes I mean EVERYTHING is done for show. Now in a political sense you are astute in how to use this – playing the game in Samoan society and all credit to you – you are Palemia as a direct result of this skill, but when you bring this same value (your cultural norm) into the religious arena, you err, and badly. This is why with matters of faith you fail. This is why you had no fear in rejecting a man of God from your midst when in 2016 you signed the order that eventually (after your fools worked out how to do it) sent me packing.
Tui, I am not a perfect man, but I did bring biblical wisdom to your country and I never did anything for self or to hurt you or your people. What you did was and is the exact same thing, for all the reasons I have previously outlined (and more), that the peoples’ leaders a smidgeon more than 2,000 years ago did to Christ.
So the difference between us then is that you live by a value system that requires you to DO things in order to achieve. I on the other hand live by a value system that requires me to BE things in order to achieve.
In my next letters I expand on the errors I believe that you have made and talk about what you and your people need to BE in order to receive the Lord’s blessings. To be frank, I think it’s a total waste of time with you. You’ve had seven years to get with it and you’ve chosen your lot, so from my perspective you are just a proud old fool too “BIG” to listen to others, so you can keep on living with it, but Tui, I know that there are some people within your country and society that do listen to me; that do want to hear what I have to say, so I will speak, for their sake.